Sunday, January 30, 2011

Update of the heel lift

I went to the gym today to do my experiment. I figured it was better than running outside because (a) it was raining and I didn't want to deal and (b) I know it hurts more to run faster so I can use the treadmill to control my speed and keep that variable out of the equation.

I started out with no heel lift. I did a full Couch to 5K workout, Week 2. I started out even before I got on the treadmill with a bit of discomfort in my left side -- the usual culprits of heel, arch, hip, butt and calf -- probably from the bike ride yesterday and maybe from too much computer time as well. But it wasn't too bad so I proceeded with the experiment.

I got through the entire program. I did have some discomfort when running that would go down a bit during the walking phase but not fully recover. By the time I finished, I had a feeling that was straddling the line between discomfort and pain. I also noticed that my right foot was pointed at about half way between 12 and 1 o'clock on an imaginary analog clock. Before, with my old shoes and no heel lift, it would point out at around 2 o'clock!

I decided it wouldn't be fair to start with heel lift run with the level of discomfort I was now feeling so I found something more upper body to do to rest the leg. Except what I decided to do was work the row machine. Which apparently is another one of those "whole body" exercisers. No one wonder it's such a big part of Crossfit.

But I felt the calf discomfort wasn't really any worse than when I started the first run so I found a treadmill and started the second session. As soon as I put in the heel lift, I realized it wasn't right. I felt like I was wearing high heels on that side! I also started to feel strong discomfort almost immediately even during the 5 min. warm-up walk.  It got much worse during the first run. I recovered a bit with the walk interval but not enough. I couldn't even make it through the walk interval. I had to stop and take the lift out. This was not discomfort, but pain. Horrible, cut my leg off now it hurts so bad, pain.

I took the lift out and finished the second session of Couch to 5K without it. I did have discomfort and even pain by the end of the session, but I also increased my running pace (since the experiment was over) and it was my second session.

Conclusions?

(1) The heel lift absolutely does not work with this new pair of shoes. In fact, it's a disaster. Clearly, I'm not going to use it any more.

(2) The heel lift did work with the Newtons to correct my weird foot turnout. Did it also cause other problems? It's hard to say. It did seem to cause problems just wearing a lift every day in every day shoes. But I hardly ran with it because I was hardly running and I don't feel like it was what was causing the running pain I was feeling or at least not the whole cause.

Since I still have some pain while running even without it, I'm inclined to think that going with the lift was probably not the best idea, but not necessarily the cause of major issues either.
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